On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate passed a bill to honor “Juneteenth,” as a federal holiday. It passed with no objections and unanimous consent. Now, it proceeds to the House for a vote.
If it passes and President Biden also signs, federal employees will have a day off to commemorate June 19, 1865. On this day, slaves in Galveston, Texas, found out that President Abraham Lincoln freed African Americans slaves in the South. This happened two and a half years earlier. The day is often referred to as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day.
Today, 47 states and the District of Columbia honor the date in some way. Furthermore, Texas was first to officially commemorate Juneteenth as a state holiday in 1980.
Yearly Juneteenth celebrations will continue as usual this year. The day is also normally celebrated with parades, concerts, beauty pageants and educational events nationwide.